Olivia Dwyer, MountainOnline.com
Wasatch picks up 50 inches of powder over the weekend; Western resorts open early.
When Snowbird VP of Operations Dave Fields rode his bike to work last Thursday, he noticed the mountain looked a little dry. By Friday, the first flakes fell. When the storm cleared on Sunday, 50 inches of snow buried Snowbird. The resort moved its opening day to Thursday, November 15.
The Weather Channel dubbed the winter storm Brutus (stay tuned for more mythology lessons and winter storm alerts). And in its wake ski areas in Utah and other Western states are rolling out the white carpet early thanks to the bounty of natural snow.
"We could not script it any better," says Fields. "It gives us a foundation to get a lot of terrain open and make pass holders happy, and this kind of snow resonates with people around the country." Yesterday, Snowbird's operations team worked to prepare the mountain: Ski patrollers threw bombs and ski cut avalanche-prone slopes. Snow cats maneuvered through drifts for track packing, where the machines churn up fresh snow and compact it for a stable surface. As opening day inches closer, Snowbird staff rolls out more of the familiar hallmarks of ski season—pads wrapped around lift towers, orange and black rope strung between bamboo poles marking hazards. "We're off to the races," Fields says.